114. When Israel Fled from Egypt Land

Text Information
First Line: When Israel fled from Egypt land
Title: When Israel Fled from Egypt Land
Versifier: Henrietta Ten Harmsel (1985)
Meter: LM
Language: English
Publication Date: 1987
Topic: Biblical Names & Places: Egypt; Biblical Names & Places: Jordan; Biblical Names & Places: Judah (2 more...)
Copyright: Text © 1987, CRC Publications
Tune Information
Composer: William B. Bradbury, 1816-1868 (alt.)
Meter: LM
Key: F Major

Text Information:

A celebration of God s mighty power displayed in the redemption of Israel.

Scripture References:
st. 1 = vv. 1-2
st. 2 = vv. 3-4
st. 3 = vv. 5-6
st. 4 = vv. 7-8

The fourth of the "hallelujah" psalms (111-118), 114 was probably composed by a priest or Levite for use in the temple liturgy. It stands second in the "Egyptian Hallel" used in Jewish liturgy at the annual religious festivals prescribed in the Torah. At Passover, Psalms 113 and 114 were sung before the meal; 115 through 118 were sung after the meal. With vivid metaphor (mountains skipping like rams) and masterful compression, this little hymn celebrates the mighty power of God displayed in the Exodus, at Sinai, in the Israelites' desert wanderings, and at the entrance to the promised land. God united with Israel at the time of the Exodus, taking up residence with them (st. 1). Earth's imposing and powerful features - mountains and sea – yielded in awe to the redemptive purposes of God (st. 2), and the psalmist asks them to reflect on why they submitted (st. .3). The psalmist then calls upon all creation to tremble before Its Maker, who can still bring water out of dry, hard rock and provide for his people's every need (st. 4). Henrietta Ten Harmsel (PHH 61) versified this psalm in 1985 for the Psalter Hymnal.

Liturgical Use:
Reflection on the Exodus theme, especially during Easter Vigil, when Christians associate the Exodus with their own exodus from sin and death through Christ's victory.

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

Tune Information:

ANDRE by William B. Bradbury (b. York, ME, 1816; d. Montclair, NJ, 1868) is a solid tune in which a simple harmonization supports melodic and rhythmic motives well suited to the story-like character of Psalm 114. In the 1912 Psalter and in earlier editions of the Psalter Hymnal, ANDRE was set to Psalm 113; for the 1987 edition, the tune was chosen for Psalm 114 and abridged from five to four phrases. Ten Harmsel suggests that "the parallel images make it especially suitable for antiphonal singing." One possible arrangement is to have all sing on stanza 1, men on stanza 2, a children's choir or women and children on stanza 3, and all again on stanza 4. A solid accompaniment for stanzas 1, 2, and 4 should give way to lighter playing for the questions of stanza 3, which is reminiscent of the Passover tradition in which children ask their parents why that night is different from all other nights.

Bradbury came from a musical family who encouraged him from an early age to learn to play various musical instruments. In 1830 his family moved to Boston. There he studied singing with Lowell Mason (PHH 96) and sang in Mason's Bowdoin Street Church choir. In 1841 Bradbury moved to Brooklyn, New York, and became the organist at the Baptist Tabernacle in New York City. He organized children's singing classes, which developed into annual singing festivals and stimulated the teaching of music in the New York public schools. In 1854 William joined his brother Edward and a German piano maker to begin a piano firm, which became the Bradbury Piano Company. Bradbury wrote or edited sixty collections of popular music and edited and published numerous song books, including The Psalmodist (1844) and Golden Shower of Sunday School Melodies (1862). He is sometimes known as "the father of Sunday school hymnody."

--Psalter Hymnal Handbook

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